Supporting people with learning disabilities



Grapevine Essex was founded in January 2012 by Jackie Holland and Vanessa Hellier and we now have nearly 180 members.

We achieved charity status as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in March 2013. In accordance with charity regulations, we have a Board of Trustees, who are responsible for the governance of the charity.  

We are honoured to have Peter Turrall MBE as our President, and Lord Petre, Lord Lieutenant of Essex as our Patron.  

Jackie’s role as Chair of the Board of Trustees and Charity Manager includes planning and organising all the activities and events for members, managing the accounts and overseeing the general running of the charity.

Vanessa’s role as Member Support Manager includes organising the support for members and supervising the volunteer team. She also runs the term time social club on Tuesday evenings ‘Club Grapevine’; in Sept 2017, she took over managing the Dance Group on Monday evenings. Vanessa holds HSE accredited Level 1 First Aid at Work certification, she is trained in Epilepsy Awareness and is also qualified to administer Buccal Midazolam.

Mary Schultz works alongside Vanessa in providing support for members and organises the Art and Craft Workshops held periodically at Club Grapevine on Tuesday evenings during term time.

In April 2017, we were delighted to welcome Adrian Heighes as a new staff member helping to support members. Adrian is qualified in health and social care and is a fantastic addition to the Grapevine team.

Jane Crossman is the Funding and Administrative Officer and she helps Jackie in applying for grants and various other administrative duties, as well as volunteering at our events and Club nights.

All our staff and volunteers hold enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificates where relevant and are offered ‘Emergency First Aid at Work Level 2’ first aid training.

Grapevine Essex is committed to providing an excellent and professional service to adults with learning disabilities; comprising affordable, confidence building and educational opportunities that teach life skills, support independent living and improve employability.  

The fully supported outings and activities provided ensure valuable respite to parents and carers, in addition to raising acceptance and awareness of adults with learning disabilities within the general public.  

Most of all, we are dedicated to ensuring our members have fun, develop friendships and enhance their lives within a safe, supportive and friendly environment.

Our purpose, our values, our services

Jackie and VanessaJane